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Press Release

Southern District of Florida recognizes World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida

MIAMIMarkenzy Lapointe, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, joined national, state, local, and Tribal leaders today in recognizing World Elder Abuse Awareness Day (WEAAD). Since 2006, WEAAD has been commemorated to promote awareness and increase understanding of the many forms of elder abuse as well as the resources available to those at risk.

Highlighting the partnership between law enforcement and the public, U.S. Attorney Lapointe emphasized the importance of awareness and education.

“Our Office is committed to protecting and supporting the most vulnerable among us, including the elderly,” stated U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida. “Exploitative practices that target seniors inflict great financial, emotional and at times physical harm. Elder abuse, fraud, and neglect remain urgent problems in our country. If you or your loved ones are victims of elder fraud and/or abuse, contact law enforcement for help. No one should fight this battle alone.”

Elder abuse is an act that knowingly, intentionally, or negligently causes or creates a serious risk of harm to an older person by a family member, caregiver, or other person in a trust relationship. Such harm may be financial, physical, sexual, or psychological. The Justice Department maintains a variety of programs and initiatives to combat elder abuse.

The Transnational Elder Fraud Task Force marshals federal and state agencies working collaboratively to investigate and prosecute foreign-based schemes that target older Americans. In addition to aggressively investigating the individuals, organizations, and networks responsible for these crimes, this initiative provides the public with information to guard against both traditional scams, like tech support fraud, as well as trending schemes, such as romance scams.

Using one scam to perpetrate or conceal another, some fraudsters rely on money mules to move the proceeds of their illegal activity. Preying on the good will or financial vulnerability of their targets, scammers recruit people, many times older victims, to participate in schemes to move money in ways that avoid notice. The Money Mule Initiative identifies and addresses money mule activity to disrupt these fraud schemes, and helps people to recognize and avoid participation in perpetuating fraud. The U.S. Attorney’s Office recently issued the following announcement regarding money mules..

“Our Office is committed to dismantling criminal networks, to include those designed to inflict financial harm upon older Americans,” said U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to disrupt money mule networks, educate consumers about scams, and prosecute criminals who defraud the public. Our goal is to keep money out of the hands of domestic and international fraudsters and in the pockets and bank accounts of the South Florida residents and visitors we serve.”

To help older individuals and their families identify and avoid fraudulent activity, the Justice Department provides Senior Scam Alerts with information about the tactics used in specific schemes. For example,

  • In Social Security Administration impostor schemes, scammers impersonate government administrators and falsely report suspicious activity to request that the victims provide their Social Security number for confirmation.
  • In tech support scams, fraudsters contact victims, sometimes through internet pop-up messages, to warn about non-existent computer problems, ask the victim to give them remote access to their computer, and identify a non-existent problem, then demand large sums of money for unnecessary services.
  • In lottery scams, telemarketers falsely notify victims that they have won a sweepstake and tell them they must first pay fees for shipping, insurance, customs duties, or taxes before they can claim their prizes.

To learn more about the Justice Department’s elder justice efforts please visit the Elder Justice Initiative page.  U.S. Attorney Lapointe’s elder fraud Public Service Announcement (PSA) can be viewed by visiting this link.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida continues to work with federal, state, local, and Tribal law enforcement partners, to include the FBI, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA), U.S. Secret Service (USSS), and Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), to investigate and prosecute elder abuse crimes.

Recent South Florida elder abuse cases include the following:

To report elder fraud, contact the dedicated National Elder Fraud Hotline at 1-833-FRAUD-11 or 1-833-372-8311 and visit the FBI’s IC3 Elder Fraud Complaint Center at 



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated June 14, 2024

Elder Justice